My first visit to the TATE Modern in London remains memorable, even today. Thanks to Tino Seghal and his team of performers.It was around 10 am on a Friday morning and as a class, we had gone to the TATE. I had no idea about what I was getting into and I dint want to do any reading before hand. I just wanted to experience it firsthand, without any expectations.
As I entered, I had this feeling that a hundred other people were entering the hall with me. I felt quite claustrophobic. The crowd however, seemed to possess a sense of purpose. They all moved the same way, towards a common place. I followed them, curious about what was happening.
Suddenly, in my head, the crowd had transformed into a mob. They kept walking towards the end of the hall after which they turned back, spread themselves wide and began a chant. A chant that was rhythmic, deep, repetitive and magical. A chant that embodied the human spirit in this technological age. The mob then started moving back in the same direction from where it originally came in.
A man, in track pants walked up to me from the mob and started talking to me about his scuba diving experience along with his brother. A few minutes later, a girl, just out of school told me a story about her ballet dance class and how that experience made her realise who she truly was.
The mob suddenly gained pace and now people in the mob were almost playing games with one another. It seemed like they were playing 'catch me if you can'. Suddenly the pace reduced once again. The mob spread out all over the hall and the rhythmic chant began again. This time the chant sounded different as the tones and ways in which the chant was done was different from the first, still magical though.
As the chant subsided, a man came to me and started telling me about his girlfriend and how he went to the bar one night and then he met another man. Suddenly he stopped the story abruptly and went away, leaving me in a curious state of what his story could have potentially been.
The mob began to play once again. This time, they started encircling people around the hall in various dramatic ways. This was interesting, since it seemed like they were making me a part of them. There were forming human chains and mini societies around people who were watching them.
Suddenly, I had this feeling that there were stories all around me. I wanted people to walk upto me and tell me their story. I also wanted to find out if they would be willing to listen to my story. I waited patiently for the next person to come to me and tell me their story. The more I waited, no one came.
Tino Sehgal's Live Art was thoroughly inspiring. There were moments of calm and chaos, certainty and surprises as well as rhythms and silences.
I could walk in when I wanted, watch them, mock them, distract them and leave, but the show would go on. Interestingly, we had the opportunity to meet one of the actors in the show and he shared with us their process and rules, that each one followed every day.
Great leanings and a whole load of processing to be done now.
(These words will hardly do any justice to what I saw and experienced. This photo will not tell you anything.) Live Art needs to be lived.
Curtains as pillars and moving in and out of it
Last week, I attended a workshop on Stage lighting, conducted by Andy Purvees at Central School. As I walked into the room, I saw four distinct areas being lit up, using a variety of lights. After a brief warm up and initiation, we were divided into groups and asked to play around with the equipment that was around in the room. Even before we knew it, art was being made.
Having lights at your disposal from day one of your rehearsal can change the way your play takes shape, significantly. The difference being, you are designing a sketch based on the light that is available, as opposed to designing light to a set pattern of moves. This just changes the way you begin to look at the work you are making. In a way, the light becomes a part of the act, a protagonist of some sort and not just a support element.
Sound was also brought into the space and now we were keeping the mood of the music and varying our rhythms of play with the light sources accordingly. This created some interesting possibilities. It's truly a luxury to be able to have your sound and light from day one of your rehearsal, but I think if you did, your work will end up being a lot different, definitely, for the better.
I've also seem to taken a lot of liking towards using other innovative light sources and bringing them on stage. This could be Light bulbs, serial lights or even candles and kerosene lamps. Lighting should be used more than just for lighting up actors and setting the mood. Lights induce new possibilities and gives us room to do more !